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Moving Up?

IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys are expected to report for training camp on July 28, with the first scheduled practice on July 30.

However, the club has sent a request to the NFL league office in hopes of moving up the dates, possibly as early as three or four days.

As it stands currently, the Cowboys are reporting to camp later than most teams, and definitely starting the regular season earlier than all but one, playing the Giants on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The Giants meanwhile, get to practice on July 27.

With the new CBA from last summer, the new rules state teams cannot report to training camp until 15 days prior to their first preseason game. Since the Cowboys' first preseason game isn't until Aug. 13 against the Raiders on Monday Night Football, it has the team starting late but playing early.

As it currently stands, the Cowboys are set to begin training camp at Valley Ranch on July 25 with only the quarterbacks and rookies eligible to attend. Head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday the team has sent a petition to the league office to move up the dates by three or four days. While Garrett said the NFL was sympathetic to the request, it has been sent to the NFLPA and has to go through that process. Garrett didn't sound too optimistic things will change in the Cowboys' favor.

"What we have to focus on is what our situation is," Garrett said. "We can't worry about what the Giants' situation is or any of our opponents. We know when we're going to report to camp and we know when we're going to play our first preseason game and first regular-season game. That's all pretty much outlined for us, so we just have to understand what the situation is and as a coach and coaching staff we have to make sure we organize things the right way to get ourselves prepared as we go through camp. We'll have plenty of time to do that."

Because the Cowboys are starting camp late and ending early, it means the team will play four games in a span of 16 days. Garrett acknowledged the quick turnaround but also said it's something the team has to deal with. And something this organization has experienced long before Garrett and these players were around.

Garrett, who played in Dallas from 1992-99 as a backup quarterback, said there were training camps when the turnarounds were so extreme it felt like they were playing games on a daily basis.

Another issue in starting the season early is the final cut day, which is usually on Saturday following the last preseason game. But with the Cowboys playing on Aug. 29 against Miami, and then having to play the Giants just a week later, they will need to finalize the 53-man roster and then the eight-man practice squad.

Garrett said the NFL has helped with some of those rules, and likely will give the Cowboys a chance to keep their practice squad intact, at least for the start of the regular season.

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